The PR world never seems to change: Everyone still wants to be on Oprah. Even though Oprah doesn’t even have a network television show anymore!

But still, it makes sense. Everyone knows the power of Oprah. And the reason why she’s so powerful is, in part, because she knows how to leverage her medium.

Television media is still the holy grail, even though there are equally important publicity opportunities to be had on the radio, via podcasts, and in print, online and off.

But, if you’re someone who wants to be on Oprah, or the Today Show, or Good Morning America, if you’ve seen segments and cringed because you thought you should have been up there, as well, there is ONE THING you need to do, first.

Start building your media platform and credibility by pitching and booking local media.

Your media platform is what is going to get you the high profile bookings. There is no one who has just landed on Oprah’s sofa as an expert without establishing their cred elsewhere, first.

You can work your way up to the highest of high profile bookings, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. And I know you’re willing to put in the time and effort.

When it comes to building your media platform and scoring local media placements, a great idea coupled with a trusted spokesperson will win out every time. Because of your training, credentials, personal and professional experience, you’re the trusted expert. Now you just have to come up with a winning idea.

Here’s how you pitch local media:

Know Their Content

When I used to pitch local morning television day in and day out, we used to joke that all they were interested in were “puppy dogs and dating tips.” We could easily add to that weight loss or diet tips and/or deals and steals and ways to save money.

While not all local morning shows are created equal, they do have a tone, content they usually provide and information their audience is used to receiving. Even morning news anchors have their personal beats or favorite kinds of stories. So pay attention to what your favorite morning show features so you can tailor your content accordingly.

Find a Local Angle

Whether you’re pitching your own local market, or a local market that’s not local to you (like, let’s say you live in Boston, but you’re willing to travel to Charlotte if you booked a segment there) you have to make your story idea relevant to the audience you’re going to be serving.

You can reference local resources, but you can also reference local statistics or trends.  

A story about finding happiness at work could be hyper local if you take the time to unearth research that’s been done locally on workplace satisfaction.

today (1)Make It Timely

There are those yearly markers that come around every season that make us roll our eye because every television story seems to be focused on Thanksgiving, or Holiday Spending, or New Year’s Resolutions, or Finding Love. Even though the predictability of local media might make you want to hurl, we can use it to our advantage when we’re seeking publicity.

There’s a gift the media is giving us in that we know what’s coming down the pike. Think ahead and pitch your story around one of the yearly markers or seasonal trends. Bonus points if you find a local story or milestone that comes around every year at the same time, like a festival or anniversary, and create a story incorporating your message into that local calendar.

Show How It’s Useful

This might be the number one piece of advice you should take away about pitching. You must answer the question “What’s in it for me?” When pitching the media you need to think of the producer as an advocate for her audience. She’s the gatekeeper. So you need to show her what’s in it for her audience.

What are the valuable take-aways you’ll offer? What will they walk away learning? Why will this segment make the producer a hero for bringing something truly useful and unique to air?

Think In Visuals

This is TV now. Think about how you can present your segment idea visually. In your pitch, talk about what your segment will look like, as well as sound like, in terms of content. How will you suggest or offer to dress the set? What kind of products or visual will you feature that complement your promotional mentions (to offset the promotional nature of your segment)? Do you have before and after pictures you can provide to the station to be shown on air? Information from which they can build graphics?

Any ideas you offer that show you’re thinking in visuals will earn you some producer respect because you’re tuned in to their needs and specific job challenges.

Has this post inspired you to think about pitching local media? Tell me in the comments below what tipped the scales for you. Ask any questions and let us know who you’re pitching and, if you’re successful, when your segment will air.